Thanks for joining me for Cruise Week! We launched with some tips for Before You Set Sail. And so far we've made stops in Venice, Naples, Rome, and today... Florence.
In Florence I'd recommend one of two museums. The Uffizi is the largest and most important collection of Renaissance art anywhere in the world. It is amazing. But it can be overwhelming. If you hire a guide for the day, this is what I would recommend. When I take groups we look at 10 paintings in the museum and talk about them as being the most important. Of course, we see a lot of other pieces as well, but I've chosen 10 which I think best represent the growth of Renaissance art. A good guide will do much the same.
If you don't get a guide, then go to the Accademia (the Academy). This is where Michelangelo's David resides as well as many of his captives (they were supposed to be part of Julius II's tomb where you would have seen Moses in Rome). The museum is quite small. And David is truly impressive. For both museums, you can skip the lines if you have a timed reservation.
The Secret to Florence's Museums:
Several days before you will be in Florence call the telephone booking center+39 (0)55 294883. Their English-speaking operators will help you to make a reservation for your visit and give you a confirmation code. They will also give you instructions for picking up your tickets. There is an additional charge for this service, but it is well worth it to skip ahead of the long lines waiting to get into the museums.
The Duomo and the Historic City Center:
In addition to the Academy, I'd also suggest visiting Il Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) -- the largest church in Florence and truly grand. You can also walk through Piazza della Signoria, walk the very old covered bridge called the Ponte Vecchio, and wander the streets of Florence. It is a marvelous city and the entire center of the city where all of these places are located is a pedestrian zone.
I have marked several other places on the map which might be of interest including:
- Piazza della Signoria
- My Favorite Panini Shop
- The Ponte Vecchio
- Santa Croce Leather School: the best place to buy good-quality leather goods
- Gelateria dei Neri: the best gelato in Florence
- Grom Il Gelato: the 2nd best gelato in Florence
Check out the Cruise Week Map for these and all of the Cruise Week locations, plus bonus restaurant recommendations and my favorite gelato spots in each city.
View Cruise Week: Italy in a larger map
- A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome by Angela K. Nickerson: while the book is about Rome, it also has lots of information about Michelangelo's time spent in Florence, his hometown. Besides, it was written by your favorite travel blogger: me! :)
- Art/Shop/Eat Florence by Paul Blanchard: I love this little series of books. They are great for short trips, and they are purse-sized -- something that I love even more. The Florence volume is one of the best, too!
I hope you enjoyed Cruise Week. Any questions? Post them here!